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Co-created design: an art as well as a science

One of the great joys of collaborating closely with a client on design is the act of sitting down, rolling sleeves up and planning how to transform their vision into a tangible reality. This co-creative process works best if you follow five key stages.

Stage 1       Listen for the vision

  • Listen carefully to your key stakeholders to hear what it is the client needs and wants
  • Test for understanding. Support and challenge, as required

Stage 2       Generate ideas about the details

  • Sit together, if possible physically, to brainstorm possible ways forward
  • Ask open questions to allow divergent thinking and to generate ideas.  What is the priority? Why this idea? How would it work? What else is possible?
  • Use a flipchart to record ideas and pin to a wall. Visuals help people to be able to piggyback on previous thoughts and suggestions

Stage 3       Make choices

  • Discuss the ideas generated, refine, and make choices
  • Use large style coloured post it notes to capture the main agreed themes
  • Post these sequentially onto flip charted stages (day 1, month 1, year 1….)
  • Continue to discuss and rearrange post it’s as required. Move across stages or remove if required
  • Add timings and other details

Stage 4       Translate into a coherent journey map

  • Have someone in the team get their laptop and type up the agreed stages into a more structured word document
  • Send this to all parties, to be used as a working document
  • Use also to send to key stakeholders for initial buy in and approval

Stage 5       Create a timeline

  • Before you all leave, you must create a time line
  • Working backwards, map key milestones and actions required on a flipchart
  • Assign roles and responsibilities including the representative co-ordinators between the consultant and the client
  • Create an excel spread sheet to be used and updated by the co-ordinators
  • Finally, take first steps and enjoy watching the client’s vision become their reality

At Enlightened Organizations we specialise in co-creating bespoke leadership development programmes that are delivered digitally as well as face to face, always within the clients business context and often globally. 

Catherine Berney our MD, for example, formerly designed a first time leaders programme for Beiersdorf which represents her blended learning approach. She led the roll out with local faculty in 15 countries globally and in the local language. See excerpt from Indonesian delivery below: